Jeremy Mayfield Hopes Ray Evernham Will See Him
Win Wall Stadium Speedway's Turkey Derby
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield is coming to Wall Stadium Speedway this Thanksgiving weekend to win the Turkey Derby. And when he does he hopes his former boss, and Wall Stadium alumni, Ray Evernham is on hand to see it.
Mayfield was very candid in his conversation with RacingAroundJersey.com about his appearance at the historic Jersey Shore oval, his past troubles, and how they are helping to fuel his racing future. The one-time NASCAR star, who remains suspended over disputed failed drug tests, has begun to rebuild both his racing career, and life. The next stop on that journey is Wall Stadium for the Turkey Derby.
When asked why a former Sprint Cup winner from Kentucky, who lives in North Carolina, would travel to New Jersey for a race, Mayfield laid out a plan to rebuild his career that includes as much racing as possible. He has competed several times this year in an asphalt Modified, and really enjoyed it. He had heard about the Turkey Derby, and Wall Stadium, from Ray Evernham during his days driving the number 19 Dodge, and decided the prestigious event could be a great step in his rebuilding process.
Regarding Evernham Mayfield said, "I have spoke to Ray(since everything went down) and while I wouldn't say we are friends I don't think there is a problem between us. In fact, I am hoping he will be on hand to watch me win."
When told that employees of Evernham, the Bohn family, would likely be competing against him in the Tour-Type race it only seemed to increase his hope that the former Sprint Cup winning crew chief would be on hand.
Mayfield also seemed to be excited to hear that Sprint Cup team owner Tommy Baldwin, and crew chief Bono Manion, may return to the Turkey Derby in 2014 saying, "I hope they are there, in fact, maybe Tommy could bring me a car."
This statement, of course, led us to ask just whose car Mayfield would be driving at the Turkey Derby. Surprisingly, he seems to have several to choose from saying, "Right now it looks like we will be in a Dave Brigati car, but we could choose to bring our own, or even use a Zacharias car."
Whichever car he chooses to race it will have the J2 number he has been racing during his comeback.
Perhaps surprising to some is one of Mayfield's biggest supporters both financially, and personally, is Humpy Wheeler. The former President of Charlotte Motor Speedway, and racing innovator, has been there for Mayfield since he first arrived in NASCAR. While not getting into specifics, Mayfield said he and Wheeler have a plan to not only resurrect his driving career, but to take dirt racing to a whole new level.
In fact, while Mayfield is excited about his asphalt Modified ride at the Turkey Derby his future seems to be in dirt racing. His plans currently include many of the biggest dirt Late Model races on the WOO, and Lucas Series in 2015. Both he, and Wheeler, feel dirt is not only the best way to regrow his racing career, but it is also the form of racing with the biggest upside in the future.
When it comes to the future Mayfield is not ruling anything out, even a return to NASCAR. Despite being 45 years old he points toward drivers like Jeff Gordon, and Matt Kenseth, who are having some of their best years in their forties. However, don't look for him to take a start-and-park ride just to be back in the sport he loves. Mayfield is a racer, and that is what he intends on doing.
He also wants to spread the philosophy of "Take it Back" that both he, and his wife Shana, are living by. They hope to show people no matter what obstacle they may have faced in life if you work hard for what you want, even if it's something you already had, you can have it again. This message is all over the Jeremy Mayfield J2 Racing website, with two videos that need to be seen by all racing fans.
For Mayfield the next step on his journey is Wall Stadium Speedway, a track he has only seen on YouTube. What he does know is that many of the top Modified drivers in the Northeast will be there on Thanksgiving weekend trying to pick up a Turkey Derby win. A win that could be all that much sweeter if Ray Evernham is there to see him take his next step forward after being witness to his great fall.
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